What is the Drag Link all about?
The motion of the steering wheel must be translated into something usable by the tire wheels. In manual steering systems (mostly older ones, although a handful of automakers still use this setup), that’s accomplished by using a pitman arm attached to a drag link, which itself attaches to a steering arm. In other designs, it connects between the pitman arm and the tie-rod assembly.
The actual design and motion of the drag link can vary a great deal depending on the automaker, but they serve to translate movement from the steering wheel into movement for the tire wheels. Drag links are either solid or adjustable. If the drag link is worn out, you may have abnormal tire wear or an unsteady feeling in your steering.
Keep in mind:
- The drag link itself does not wear out usually; rather, it’s the junction points between the drag link and the pitman arm or tie-rods that do.
- Adjustable drag links can wear out over time, and will need adjustments as the vehicle ages.
How it’s done:
- The vehicle is raised and supported on jack stands
- The defective drag link is removed from the vehicle steering
- The new drag link is installed and torqued to specifications
- The steering is turned left and right to make sure the steering operates normally
- The vehicle is removed from jack stands and road tested for proper steering operation
Your steering and suspension system is incredibly complex, and while there is no specified lifespan for a drag link, these components can be damaged in accidents or through impact by debris. If you suspect you have a worn, bent drag link, or have similar symptoms, have one of our expert mechanics diagnose your drag link.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Drag Link?
- Abnormal tire wear
- Abnormal play in the steering wheel
- Experiencing steering “wobble”
How important is this service?
Drag links are critical steering components. While damage or excessive wear won’t prevent your car from functioning completely, it can cause unsafe conditions, and the links eventually need to be replaced. Have it diagnosed by one of our expert mechanics who can give you a recommendation on the severity of your specific instance.